While I was working on my brand new Hughes Broadband installation (after 13 miserable years of hateful dialup), I opened Task Manager and saw that I was getting a download that was humming along at 50% CPU Usage. Something looked wrong, compared with my experience with years of snail downloads. This download was coming much faster than I ever saw before. And four times it shot up to 100% CPU, staying there each time for a few minutes, during which I couldn't do anything - I was hung up!
It finally stopped. I wondered what would it have been like if I was back in the antediluvian days. So I did a search on size and time and got:
C:\WINNT\system32\config\SOFTWARE 19,364 KB File 2/6/2010 10:17 AM
Now, how can I search out on something named SOFTWARE? My system is Win2KPro, what else do I need?
Downloads shouldn't tie up the CPU, it's only a bit of network traffic. Are you sure it was a download?
Check the Windows Event Viewer to see what happened at that time.
Well, my only clues were the CPU usage, the hang-ups, the stop time, and the 19,364 KB File at 2/6/2010 10:17 AM that was the only download that appeared at that particular time. And since I never have downloaded anything of that size by dialup (which would still be dribbling down), I assumed that that strange name, SOFTWARE, was the culprit. It kinda stood out in the lineup.
Strangely, that culprit is still there in C:\WINNT\system32\config\SOFTWARE, but he is now dated 2/7/2010 5.43 AM. I have the feeling that he is legitimate because there are quite a few other files that have names like SAM, SECURITY, SYSTEM in that lineup.
AHA, that woke me up! I have Lars Hederer's ERUNT 'Registry Backup and Restore for Windows NT/2000/2003/XP', otherwise known as ERUNT - The Emergency Recovery Utility NT, the ERU that Bill forgot to include in Windows NT and 2000, and SOFTWARE is one of the hives. I've had that humming along for so many years I forgot it was there.
But that just makes it more curious. I'm sure that Lars is not downloading registry updates! That's ridiculous. I'll ask him.
I suspect it is a local thing, not a download.
Did Windows update update your computer?
Do you have a local backup that runs regularly?
Have you scanned for malware recently?
Regardless of it it was a dial up connection or not. The cpu speed should not be affected by it. unless there was a driveby download that installed a virus on the site. The most likely thing is software of some sort. You probably had to much running for your available resources. What is your system specs?
Windows 200 for the win!
Windows 2000, brings back memories. So many things we take for granted in newer OSs these days. Anyway...
Taking in to consideration you are using Windows 2000, could you provide hardware specifications and internet browser / download utility you were using to grab the file?
It is quite possibly your antivirus if you have any or some other memory resident program inspecting the new file streaming down. As you say things used to come down at a snails pass so such things wouldn't be noticeable.
It could have even been a flash player advert on your internet browser chewing cpu cycles, this really only comes into play on older/low-end hardware.